2nd Annual Founders Day

Many people in the area consider today to be Marquette’s 161st birthday.

Community members came together early this morning to remember the city as it was in the mid-1800s.

ABC 10 News Now senior reporter Mike Hoey was at Founders Landing for the celebration of Founders Day.

May 18th, 1849.

Just after sunrise, the first white residents of what’s now Marquette — Peter White, Robert Graveraet and others — row ashore from Lake Superior.

Chief Charlie Kawbawgam leads an Ojibwa delegation on hand to greet them.

Glen Bressette, Sr. was playing Chief Kawbawgam in this morning’s re-enactment of the actual landing.

He says as an Anishinaabe member himself who’s lived in Marquette all his life, it’s been a huge honor to take part in the occasion.

Last year, on the 160th anniversary of the landing, Marquette celebrated Founders Day for the first time.

Glen’s son, Glen Bressette, Jr., played a member of the welcoming committee.

He’s glad Founders Day is back because native history isn’t often taught anymore and this is an opportunity to change that.

The idea is to celebrate in the 21st century the spirit of togetherness the area had in the mid-19th.

Jim Edwards, playing Peter White in the ceremony, particularly likes the emphasis on the white settlers being secondary characters as recognition that the Anishinaabe were already here.

But not everything about the Founders Day re-enactment is completely authentic.

Edwards says he may not make a very convincing Peter White because the real Peter White was just 18 years old at the time of the landing.

White was also 6’1″ — much taller than Edwards is.

Founders Day will now become an annual event.

So if there’s one day of the year when you’re awake before dawn, organizers hope May 18th is that day.